Management Plan – Torquay and Jan Juc Community Garden, Victoria
Prepared by: Max Broadley, November 2002.
The Community Garden project was first tabled to the Shire in the form of Community Development Grant proposal in November 2000. This grant was approved. In the past two years the community garden project has attracted a dedicated group of residents, canvassed support from Torquay School and Community Group0s, held regular meetings, researched considerably, forged connections with other community gardeners, participated in educational forums and workshops, and visited a number of other community gardens. This activity has all been in anticipation of acquiring a site from the shire.
The community Garden Project has evolved into a vision of community gardening at its best with positive implications for all Surfcoast residents. The project is targeted toward all people in our community who are happy to come together in an environment that is free from prejudice, we foresee that this garden will bring individuals together with diverse approaches to life, and require them to cooperate to achieve common goals. We foresee the Community Garden Project will provide a forum for interaction between young and old residents, facilitating a sharing of knowledge and strengthening community cohesion. We believe it is important not to underestimate the physical and mental health benfits associated with such a project.
The management of the Torquay and Jan Juc Community Garden will exist in two tiers;
Primarily the Garden project will be managed by a dedicated group of Community Gardeners, formalised as a committee. The responsibilities of this group will include physical works, maintenance and administration of the site, participation in the Rec Reserve advisory committee, and also reporting to Spring Creek House’s Committee of Management.
Being that the Community Garden was initiated as a Community Development Project of Spring Creek House, the supplementary management and ultimate accountability will remain the domain of the Spring Creek Community House Management Committee. The responsibilities of this group will include financial accountability, legal accountability (public liability insurance). The garden project existing under the auspice of the Community House therefore complies with the policies governing the Community House and its services, please find below an outline of some of those policies…
Spring Creek Community House is committed to the provision of a welcoming environment in which the development and enrichment of the lives of people in the local community are facilitated.
Spring Creek House is an equal opportunity organization committed to equity and access in the provision of its services and in employment. All users and staff of the centre have the right to an environment free from discrimination: As an employer and provider of services, this centre will operate without any source of direct or indirect discrimination on the basis of gender, marital status, pregnancy, parenthood, race, age, sexual preference, disability, religious or political conviction.
Participation and Integration of People with Disabilities
This program enables people with a disability to attend classes, groups and activities of their choice: ‘It is our philosophy to provide an (Community) Access Centre where people can come together and participate in an atmosphere of equality, friendship and trust, sharing their skills and experiences in order to improve the quality of all our lives. Our aim also, is to look at the ability first, before the disability.”
Access and Equity
Spring Creek Community House is an organization funded under the Neighbourhood House Coordination Program (State Govt.). We are committed to the policy that ‘Neighbourhood Houses [and service] are for everyone’. – regardless of sex, age, ethnic origins, political or religious beliefs, sexual orientation or disability.
Public Liability Insurance
Spring Creek Community House is an organization funded under the Neighbourhood House Coordination Program (Victorian state government), therefore the House and the services it provides are indemnified against claims of a third party for personal injury or property damage of advertising liability.
Class of insurance: General and Products Liability
Insurer: Victorian Managed Insurance Authority. Policy ID 2001304521
An incident report form should be completed as soon as possible for all categories of incident. A copy of the incident report form should be given to each member involved. A registry of reported incident must be kept at the Community House.
The two tiered management structure of the project should be seen as Stage 1. The vision of the Community House and Garden Group is to build momentum and participation, and after and incubated period of auspice under the Community House, the Garden Group will incorporate and assume financial and legal ownership of the project. This realisation of stage 2 will only occur after the project has proven its financial stability.
The Torquay and Jan Juc community garden being the subject of various grant application is obliged to meet the proposals outlined in successful grant application. Aims from existing successful grants include:
- encourage sense of community ownership and self-reliance
- encourage sense of community inclusiveness
- development of adult education curriculum (composting, perma culture, vermiculture)
- promotion of green waste recycling.
Complimentary services of the Community House will mean that maximum outcomes are assured. The existing Tool Library at Spring Creek Community House can be coupled with the garden project to encourage increased participation and return on investment. A catalogue of hand tools, earth moving and motorised equipment is available for use.
Support and ongoing costs
Ongoing financial support of the project will be sourced from:
- sponsors – physical structures, financial support, in kind hours
- grants – financial support for specific works or projects
- sales – sale of produce from the project, i.e.: compost, worms.
Participation and community engagement
The Community Garden group has rallied in principle support for the project from the following groups: Torquay PS, St Therese PS, Bellbrae PS, Surfcoast Shire, DHS, Surflink, Lions Village, Elouera Aged Care Hostel, Geelong West Community Garden Group. We foresee that the establishment of a site will facilitate a meeting of these groups. Response from the Torquay and Jan Juc residents has been very encouraging, and there is little doubt that the site will be well utilised.
The community garden project has also received ‘in principle’ support through Surfcoast Shirt Council Chambers.
Upon realisation of a site a community engagement strategy will roll out.
For community groups and schools, we expect to engage by:
- offering the site as a means to furthering existing curriculum’s or projects i.e. school environmental curriculums, artist groups
- offering the site as a means to create new community groups i.e. bird watching
- using the site as a means of connecting community groups i.e. Elouera residents and primary school students
- using the site as a means of engaging other Surfcoast health and community services ie. CHAIN, Barwon Health respite
For individual residents, we expect to engage by:
- welcoming all to become involved in the project
- creating an adult education curriculum centred around gardening through Spring Creek Community House
- creating community events i.e. planting festival, harvest festival
- creating green waste recycling point.
The partnership of the garden group with Spring Creek Community House means that the project is able to access the networks to which the Community House belongs. Some of these networks include, CHAIN Youth Services, Barwon Network of N’hood Houses, Surfcoast Network of Community Houses, Life Activities Club, Adult Community Further Education. The House is also a forum for 29 community groups meeting weekly or monthly, and it is hoped many will take an active interest in the development of the project.
It is foreseen that by engaging groups such as CHAIN and the schools, we will not only increase participation and momentum in the project, but also, foster a sense of ownership. The outcome of this would be a circumvention of possible damage to the site through vandalism and graffiti.
Fees and charges
The design for the Community Garden will include no individual plots, therefore no plot fees will be charged to gardeners wishing to become involved in the ongoing project. It is clear that in Torquay and Jan Juc few people are unable to grow vegetables in their own yards, and that residents involvement in the project comes from a desire to learn, meet other residents, strengthen the community, and work collaboratively on project for which they have a passion.
A small nominal administration fee will be charged to each member of the Garden Group at the Annual General Meeting, making official their attachment to the group.
The garden project is mindful and considerate of its environmental impact on the surrounding area, the wider community and especially the Spring Creek. It is for these reasons that the group has indicted into its working philosophy:
- be organic or as free from pesticides as possible
- follow sustainable principles ie. Permaculture.
The group will also contain, or omit from the plans, any plants that may be a danger to the Spring Creek. This decision making process can be made in consultation with representatives from the catchment committee.
Through research our group has undertaken of established community gardens, it has been made clear to us that without a clear understanding of the condition of the soil and subsequent work can be proven fruitless, or dangerous. It is not uncommon for land to be contaminated either through landfill, prior usage, or, run off of chemicals. It is for this reason that the Garden Group is asking the Shire to soil test the site before a lease agreement is signed.
The garden group will also formally approach the Shire to seek water and power connections, as well as a line of fencing to complete enclosure of the site.